Taita Taveta governor Granton Samboja is all out to reclaim two strategic towns on Mombasa highway now under of Kwale and Makueni counties. Locals in Taita have for a long time been blaming former leadership for failing to put a serious case over the ownership of the two towns. Samboja recently announced that his county will post revenue collection officers to Mackinnon Road Town managed by Kwale but which he has been fighting to be under Taita Taveta.
Not spared by the youthful governor was Mtito Andei administered from Makueni. According to finance CEC Andrew Kubo, revenue officers from Taita have been stationed at Mackinnon Road collecting fees. Samboja has always stated the two strategic towns were illegally hived off and the community has the right to administer them. Samboja’s move has seen Makueni senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior read provocation in the move. Surprisingly in Kwale, Governor Salim Mvurya had suspended revenue collection in the town for three months to fight Covid-19. Taita finance and economic planning chief officer Leonard Langat was with Kubo to oversee the posting of revenue officer to take charge.
Samboja move has won the support of MCAs who are out to fight for residents’ land rights. The MCAs want ownership of ranches in the county whose lease has expired. Targeted is Mkuki ranch. The county wrote to the National Land Commission and ministry of Lands not to allow the renewal of the lease. The county lands department in the petition says it has grand plans to develop the plum land and residents to have a say and benefit. The ranch occupies 2,400 acres with minerals.
A local MP has been linked to the acquisition of the land by Mkuki Ranch directors. The governor and MCAs want all private ranches owned by the community. The MCAs are led by Frank Kichoi, lands committee chairman, and Ibrahim Juma (Kisagau ward). The ranches at the centre of controversy include Bura, Dawidu, Mbale, Wushumbu, Amaka, Kambanga just to name but a few. Apart from ranches, the county government is also fighting to control revenue generated from Tsavo National Parks located in the region.